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Sat, Jan 02, 2010 - Page 10 News List

Wall Street ends year on weak note

OUT WITH A WHIMPERMarkets worldwide gained throughout the year last year, while economic growth was in the negative except for Brazil, India and China

AFP , NEW YORK AND PARIS

In Asia, the rebound was even more spectacular. Shanghai gained 80 percent over the year and Hong Kong 52 percent. In Tokyo, the leading Nikkei index grew by 19.04 percent over the year.

In Europe, the Lisbon stock exchange rose 34 percent over the year, in Brussels it was up 31 percent. Madrid gained 30 percent, Amsterdam 36.34 percent, Milan 19.47 percent and the Swiss market more than 18 percent.

It was a similar situation in the Gulf where all the markets registered gains over the year. In South America, the Sao Paulo ­stockmarket grew 82 percent for the year.

However, despite improvements in the stock markets, most of the world’s economies remained limp: Growth was generally negative, except in emerging countries such as India, Brazil and China.

Unemployment had exploded, reaching a historic high of 10 percent in the US and 18 percent in Spain.

This year will be a “test year” for the markets, analysts said.

“Investors want to see if the financial system can again ­function on its own without help,” said Gregori Volokhine, an analyst from the Meeschaert investment group in New York.

Larry Hatheway and Kenny Liew from Swiss Bank UBS predicted the markets would next year see less significant gains than last year.

The analysts said the cautious outlook hinged on economic uncertainties: the dollar-euro relationship, possible price hikes for raw materials, questions over interest rates and the explosion of US and European deficits.

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